Special Issue CFP: Pandemic Politics & Phenomenology

Puncta is seeking contributions to a special issue on politics and phenomenology in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Political, economic, sociological, and environmental thinkers have already set to work interpreting and making sense of this period of transition and cascading crises, proposing solutions that would enable a return to our ‘pre-pandemic’ lives. However, due to various intersections of marginalization and inequality, e.g., systemic racism and police brutality, precarious or violent living situations, chronic health conditions, etc., horizons of possibility that are affected by the lockdown will remain so for many people. This particular political moment warrants careful phenomenological analyses. As our relationships with the world, ourselves, and others have been put into question, can we now critically think anew how public policies and power structures affect the lives, lifeworlds, and horizons of possibility of people in differential and exclusionary ways?

During this unprecedented world-event, we invite contributors to reflect critically on the social complexity of the current situation. We invite reflections on the ways that self-isolation, homeliness, notions of the public, co-apprehension, fragmented temporalities, collectivity, empathy, and health play into both personal experiences and senses of intersubjective understanding. In particular, we welcome contributions which focus through the lens of critical phenomenology, and those which explicitly thematize power relations in their phenomenological inquiries. It is our hope that, by bringing together a plurality of phenomenological perspectives during quarantine and pandemic, we can collectively offer a distinctive means to make sense of ongoing world events - attending to lived experiences in their situated and particular contexts. We ask how existing phenomenological concepts might serve us, but also how they might be challenged, in light of this historical time of transition in public health.


Contributions could reflect on the following topics:

● intercorporeality and possibility in distanced collective organising
● differences between being alone and being lonely
● health-related, economic, and political vulnerabilities, and their intersections
● phenomenology of social distancing and the risks of marginalization
● racism, health, mortality, and the Black Lives Matter movement
● affective registers of agoraphobia, anxiety, and shame during quarantine
● digital proximity and intimacy
● being-at-home (homelessness, domestic abuse, class, race, and quarantine)
● domestic violence, feeling not-at-home
● loss of freedom, movement, and certainty
● global protest, resistance, and imagination
● (in)visibility of interdependence and able-bodied privilege of the ‘I can’
● disability, empathy, and representation
● shared environments and more-than-human empathy
● access to healthcare
● futures of education, employment, and vocation

We acknowledge that many people are currently balancing multiple responsibilities of care, and we hope to make this platform for publishing as accessible as possible. As such, we encourage anyone who feels they might offer a perspective to this special issue to submit an abstract for consideration. Please submit your anonymized abstract (500-800 words) by 31st August 2020 to pandemicpoliticsphen@gmail.com in Word or PDF format.

We will then work with authors of accepted abstracts to prepare articles for consideration by 31st January 2021 for anonymous peer-review, where possible taking into account that personal circumstances may evolve over the course of the coming months. Please note that acceptance of the initial abstract does not guarantee acceptance of the full paper, which is dependent on external review. We would also like to acknowledge that praxis may necessarily take precedence over theory at this time, and that the ability to write at such a challenging period is a privilege - no one should feel undue pressure to publish.